There are no marijuana dispensaries in Napa County, but a few local entrepreneurs are making marijuana purchases as convenient as ordering a pizza.
Napa Valley Fumé has teamed up with Eaze, an online platform that lets people order marijuana products and have them delivered within minutes. Eaze was launched in 2014, but since it relies on local dispensaries to distribute and deliver products, it hadn’t served Napa County residents, who had to drive to the nearest dispensaries in Santa Rosa or Vallejo.
That changed on Aug. 7 when Fumé started legally filling and delivering Eaze orders everywhere in Napa County except Yountville, where Fumé will have to register each of its drivers, and American Canyon, where marijuana deliveries are still illegal.
“This finally allows Napa County residents, who voted overwhelmingly for Prop. 64, to buy this product that’s legal and that they asked for,” said St. Helena’s Eric Sklar, chief executive officer of Fumé.
Fumé operates a licensed dispensary in Lake County and acquires marijuana products from distributors. Fumé has tried to establish a dispensary in Napa County, so far without success.
Sklar and Elissa Hambrecht, chief operating officer of Fumé, demonstrated the system on Aug. 7, logging onto Eaze.com and ordering a bag of edibles and a lighter. The items cost $32, plus $5 for delivery and $3.20 in taxes – a total of $40.20.
About 20 minutes later, a delivery person employed by Fumé arrived, verified that Hambrecht’s identification matched her Eaze profile, verified that she was 21 or older, and delivered the items she’d ordered.
Unlike Uber drivers, Fumé’s delivery people are full-fledged employees, not independent contractors.
The service is the first legal one of its kind in Napa County, but the word “legal” comes with an asterisk. While Fumé is legally licensed under local and state laws and pays applicable taxes, the federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug.
Sklar said that isn’t too big of a concern because federal enforcement authorities are not targeting marijuana operations that are abiding by local and state laws.
Sklar said he’s hopeful that officials around Napa County will soon legalize commercial cultivation and dispensaries. Hambrecht said she envisions Fumé opening a marijuana tasting room in a Napa County city with a demonstration garden where customers can explore various marijuana cultivars.